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Spartans set to take on Badgers

February 2, 2011

The No. 11 MSU women’s basketball team is fully rested after a full week off and ready to return to the court when it travels to Wisconsin on Thursday.

The Spartans (18-3 overall, 6-2 Big Ten) travel to Kohl Center where the Badgers (12-9, 7-2) haven’t lost a game since Dec. 2, 2010, when No. 3 Duke knocked them off, 59-51.

After beginning the season 2-7, the Badgers have reversed that record in Big Ten play and currently are tied for first place in the conference.

On the other hand, the Spartans were delivered only their third loss last Thursday when No. 20 Iowa held on to a 66-64 victory in the final seconds.

This will be the second meeting between the teams this season. The last time out was Jan. 6 when the Spartans barely broke a sweat, walking away with a 62-43 win at Breslin Center.

“They’re a team that is very pack line defense and they get back,” said MSU head coach Suzy Merchant said. “They don’t really put themselves into position where they open themselves up to the transition game.”

The game will be a battle between two of the best defenses in the conference.

MSU is allowing the least points with 54.3 per game and Wisconsin is third, only allowing 57.3. However, whereas MSU has had a powerful scoring attack to accompany the defense, Wisconsin hasn’t found a rhythm on the other side of the ball and is last in the league in scoring.

“They take away the paint and I think when you defend, the offensive side of the ball takes care of itself,” Merchant said. “They have a great team concept offensively as well, but at the same time I think their staple is definitely their defense and maybe what they lack statistically, who cares.

“They’re stopping people so they’re always in the opportunity to win games and they’ve done that.”

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